South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed an executive order that prohibits transgender athletes from playing in women’s sports.
“Only girls should play girls’ sports,” Gov. Noem tweeted. “Given the legislature’s failure to accept my proposed revisions to HB 1217, I am immediately signing two executive orders to address this issue: one to protect fairness in K-12 athletics, and another to do so in college athletics.”
Only girls should play girls’ sports. Given the legislature’s failure to accept my proposed revisions to HB 1217, I am immediately signing two executive orders to address this issue: one to protect fairness in K-12 athletics, and another to do so in college athletics. (1/3)
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 29, 2021
The Department of Education and Board of Regents will have to align their policies so that only individuals that are biologically female can join in women’s sports. Last week, the governor refused to sign the bill prohibiting transgender athletes from playing in women’s sports because of the language of the bill.
“Unfortunately, as I have studied this legislation and conferred with legal experts over the past several days, I have become concerned that this bill’s vague and overly broad language could have significant unintended consequences,” Gov. Noem wrote.
According to The Hill, the state of Michigan is considering barring transgender athletes from playing in sports teams that do not align with their biological gender.
Noem’s executive order comes two days before Transgender Day of Visibility. Advocates say that the governor’s actions reveal the political hostility that transgender Americans face.
“As trans people, we still very much live in a world where our existence is an act of resistance and our visibility is an act of bravery,” Carrie Davis, the chief community officer at The Trevor Project, said. “In the face of such constant, vitriolic rhetoric and a record number of anti-trans bills, it is crucial to show up and show support for transgender and nonbinary youth year-round.”
The Human Rights Campaign says that Gov. Noem’s executive orders are unconstitutional.
“These orders cannot withstand legal scrutiny,” Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President, said. “Transgender kids are kids, and they deserve the right to live lives free from abuse, stigmatization, and danger.”